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Book Launch / How to Not Be Afraid of Everything by Jane Wong
October 29, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm PDT
On Oct 29th (Fri), at 5pm, join poet Jane Wong for the launch of her latest book: “How to Not Be Afraid of Everything” (2021, Alice James Books). At the event, Wong will read poems and talk with author Leanne Dunic about the themes of her recent book: vulnerable and tangled ways in which we articulate and reckon with fear: fear of intergenerational trauma, of toxic masculinity, of silenced and hidden histories.
The in-person event will take place at the Massy Arts Gallery, at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.
The event is free, and registration is mandatory. For Covid safety, this event requires mask wearing and proof of full vaccination (please bring your vaccination card).
How to Not Be Afraid of Everything is a book of poems that explores the vulnerable and tangled ways in which we articulate and reckon with fear: fear of intergenerational trauma, of toxic masculinity, of silenced and hidden histories.
At its core, the book is dedicated to Wong’s grandparents who survived the Great Leap Forward. From 1958 to 1962, the Great Leap Forward was a Maoist campaign that sought agricultural and industrial reform in the countryside. This campaign, also known as the Great Famine, resulted in an estimated 36 million deaths due to starvation. Full of elegy, rotting fruit, and resilient joy, these poems attempt to speak across generations of survival.
What does it mean to grow up in a take-out restaurant, surrounded by food, just a generation later? “How to Not Be Afraid of Everything” gathers the “everything” that makes us who we are, thinking through place, migration, ghosts, labor, racism, climate change, feminism, hunger, gluttony, and the rotting American Dream.
Alongside epistolaries, persona poems, and long poems, the book also thinks through memoir as re-writing that which is unknown with agency, with ferocity. “How to Not Be Afraid of Everything” is akin to an altar, a means of honoring my entangled pasts, presents, and futures.
This book feels continually timely – in thinking about how much of the world we fear, and how we find comfort and ancestral power in the face of such fear.
Jane Wong is the author of How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James, 2021) and Overpour (Action Books, 2016). Her poems and essays can be found in places such as Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019, Best American Poetry 2015, American Poetry Review, POETRY, AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s, and Ecotone. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships and residencies from Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room, the U.S. Fulbright Program, Artist Trust, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf, Hedgebrook, Willapa Bay, the Jentel Foundation, Mineral School, and others. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University. She lives on the unceded and stolen lands of the Lummi and Nooksack people.
Leanne Dunic transgresses genres and form to produce projects such as To Love the Coming End (Book*hug/ Chin Music Press 2017) and The Gift (Book*hug 2019). Her lyric memoir, One and Half of You, was published Spring 2021 by Talonbooks. Leanne is an adjunct professor at University of British Columbia, the fiction mentor at Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio, and the fiction editor at Tahoma Literary Review. She is the leader of the band The Deep Cove, and lives on the unceded and occupied traditional territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh people.